Epigrams

Emily Dickinson, aside from writing 1,775 poems, also wrote a number of epigrams.Epigram derives from the Greek epigramma- "in-scribed"- and it is a short meaningful saying that could be carved on a tombstone or monument. An epigram has always stirred a feeling of deep thought with in a person and/or culture.
It is, correspondingly, a statement that is short and insightful; it is often considered part of a nation's inherited "wisdom." Sometimes the word is used loosely to include all kinds of proverbs and aphorisms. Such forms are prominent in the Upanishads and also in Russian and German collections. The saying "An Englishman's house is his castle" is an example of an epigram that has become familiar to us. Below are five examples of Dickinson's masterful insights (these can be found on pages 21-25 in the New Poems of Emily Dickinson):

1) Hereafter, I will pick no Rose,

lest it fade or prick me.



2) The sailor cannot see the North-

but knows the Needle can-



3) The heart is the only workman

we cannot excuse.



4) Gratitude is the timid wealth

of those who have nothing.



5) We must be careful what we say.

No bird resumes its egg.

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